Wolves, Fulham trade classy goals in London draw
Pablo Sarabia and Manor Solomon traded goals as Wolves and Fulham engaged in a cagey 1-1 draw with moments of flair and class at Craven Cottage on Friday.
Raul Jimenez set up Sarabia’s goal in the 23rd minute as Wolves came at Fulham early and often on the Cottagers’ left flank, but it was USMNT star Antonee Robinson who gave Solomon the ball on the same side of the pitch for a sweet strike to tie the score just after the hour mark.
The game was close to an even split in possession and shots, and neither team reached a full expected goal over 90 minutes, but Wolves probably did enough to earn what would’ve been a solid away win were it not for Solomon’s cultured right boot.
The point gives sixth-place Fulham 39 on the season, two back of Newcastle and three behind the top four, but the Cottagers have played two or three matches more than the teams around them on the table. Fulham is unbeaten in six across all competitions.
Wolves rebound from a shocking home loss to Bournemouth to give them seven points from 12 ahead of a midweek trip to Liverpool. Their 24 points are good for 15th place, four clear of the bottom three, and Julen Lopetegui will feel he could have Wolves righteously away from the relegation scrap with a couple of match days.
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Wolves on the rise as Cottagers slip
Fulham has been quite good this season and entered this game on a nice run, but did they think Julen Lopetegui’s Wolves would be a walkover?
The Cottagers didn’t find their footing for some time in this match, as Lopetegui and the club’s increasingly comfortable transfers have done like a nice area rug and really brought the room -- or the Molineux -- together.
Raul Jimenez is looking a bit more like Raul Jimenez with Pablo Sarabia on his right, while Mario Lemina and Craig Dawson also put in shifts on that side of the pitch.
Throw in a terrific late save from Jose Sa as Fulham bid to surprise, and you’ve got a Wolves team feeling more confident of another season in the Premier League.
Fortunately for Fulham, Marco Silva’s really found a great recipe in his back four (L->R) of Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, Issa Diop, and Kenny Tete. There’s plenty of Premier League experience in the middle and both industry and electricity out wide.
Fulham vs Wolves player ratings: Stars of the Show
Nelson Semedo: Barely put a foot wrong with the ball and boy did he search it out, making 10 recoveries over 90 minutes at right back while shutting down Willian (but having issues with Robinson and Solomon on occasion including Fulham’s goal).
Antonee Robinson: While Wolves attacked Robinson (and Tim Ream) early, they had few answers for his speed even with Semedo out there.
Manor Solomon: Going to be hard for Solomon to be a super sub as his goals are surely set to have him a starter at some point soon.
Ruben Neves: What percentage of Wolves’ games has he been the best midfielder on the pitch for either team? Half? The 25-year-old is a force.
Wolves get Liverpool at Anfield for a 3pm ET Wednesday scrap.
Fulham hosts Leeds on Tuesday in an FA Cup fifth round match, returning to Premier League action on Monday, March 6 at Brentford in a West London derby.
Pablo Sarabia goal video: Lovely finish puts visitors ahead
Manor Solomon goal video: Stunner levels the line
How to watch Fulham vs Wolves live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 3pm ET, FridayTV Channel: USA NetworkOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
Fulham’s success has been built on defensive solidity and two USMNT players, Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson, have been key to that. Bernd Leno has been a great signing in goal, while midfielders Joao Palhinha and Harrison Reed give the defense a wonderful shield and then Willian and Andreas Pereira have been exceptional in supporting Aleksandar Mitrovic. However, Mitro could be missing for this game as he continues to battle injuries.
Wolves have so many talented players that it’s a real head-scratcher as to why they are battling at the wrong end of the table. Lopetegui has made them well-organized defensively but they just can’t put away chances. They have to start doing that if they want to climb away from trouble as they have a really tough stretch of games coming up.
Fulham team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Tom Cairney (ankle), Neeskens Kebano (Achilles), Aleksandar Mitrovic (thigh)
Wolves team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Sasa Kalajdzic (knee), Boubacar Traore (groin), Hee-chan Hwang (thigh), Chiquinho (knee)